Corona del Mar High School Madrigal Singers Delights in Spain

Corona del Mar High School Madrigal Singers embarked on a tour of Spain following two long pandemic years during which choir class was limited to computer screens, masked singing and outdoor spaces. Alumni from the last two graduating classes joined the tour after having missed out on so many special senior experiences. The group was buzzing with energy and raring to take on the Iberian Peninsula, where director Andy Ball had established professional contacts and friendships at past music festivals.
Their first stop was Madrid, where the Madrigal Singers visited the Fundación la Merced Migraciones, benefiting refugees in Spain. Their concert in the Iglesia de las Madres Mercedarias raised funds for the non-profit, and was well received by the Madrileños in attendance. Director Andy Ball explained:
“One of the songs that was most popular on our performance set was a setting of ‘Cielito Lindo’, which prior to our first concert on tour our students were somewhat dreading – they were worried about how their Spanish would be received, concerned that the arrangement was repetitive and somewhat boring, and overall didn’t particularly care for the song.“However at our first performance in Madrid, the response to the piece was overwhelming. The audience sang along, and the nuns who were watching from the balcony were dancing to the music. It will forever be an experience I can share with my students when they worry about preparing and performing music from a culture for that culture.”
Following their delight at inspiring nuns to dance, the Madrigal Singers performed what they consider the best concert of their tour in the Iglesia San Gil in Zaragoza, before continuing on the road to Barcelona, where they participated in Barcelona’s International Choral Music Festival.
Their time in Barcelona offered them the opportunity to take a “Nordic Sounds” workshop with Estonian director Hirvo Surva, visit the impressive Montserrat monastery and hike the Pyrenees mountains, regale the small Catalonian community of Puig-Reig with a wonderful concert, and perform in the splendid Palau de la Música with choirs from around the world.
Corona del Mar High School Madrigal Singers returned to California tired but happy, having experienced the joy of musical and cultural exchange in a foreign land after more than two years of being grounded at home. They will commence the new school year riding the energetic high of their Spain tour and looking forward to the next one!